Lions Led By Lambs: An Open Letter to the Conservative Movement

Barb Wire

If you’ve never read anything I’ve written for Conservative Review before, or never plan on reading anything I’ll write here in the future, my prayer is that you’ll read and seriously consider what I’m about to say. In fact, if I was told this was going to be my final column here and I could write about any topic other than Gospel itself, the topic I would choose is this very one.

Let’s begin with a question.

Riddle me this: movies that promote our values of faith, family, and freedom are dominating the box office. We’re selling more books than ever before. We have more infrastructure to mobilize our grassroots than ever before. We have more conferences to equip and encourage one another than ever before. The most successful cable news network by far leans to the Right. For the last five years in a row more Americans have identified themselves in Gallup polling as “conservative” than any other ideological group. And after this last election we now have the fewest Democrats in the legislative branch nationwide since before the Great Depression.

Yet despite all of this success, how is it the size of government continues to grow, real wages continue to stagnate, the culture is still spiraling towards Gomorrah, and we’re fighting the same internal battles within the Republican Party that venerable conservative trailblazers like Richard Viguerie and Phyllis Schlafly have been fighting for 50 years?

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This is the existential question of our movement. In this column I intend to do my best to answer it.

Hearing the answer won’t be easy, but it could very well be necessary for the survival of our constitutional republic. While I have tremendous respect and admiration for Viguerie and Schlafly, I don’t want our generation to have to keep re-taking the same ground they once did (and I don’t believe they would want us to). I want our generation to build on the foundation they laid and advance the cause of liberty for the next generation. To do that, we have to learn from the failures of our elders as well as their successes.

We keep losing the country even as we win. I believe it’s because we’re clinging to this false hope: keep the base of the organization solid and the rest of the organization will follow, but the exact opposite is true.

Make no mistake, our base is solid. We are probably the most collectively conservative, libertarian, and principled we’ve ever been. We’ve already done more to challenge the establishment on multiple fronts than our movement has ever done. Except we’ve largely neglected the most important front of them all.


Because of our imperfect natures, order is required amid the chaos for justice and liberty to flourish. To establish and maintain that order, headship is required so that responsibility, stewardship, and accountability – the bedrocks of a free society – are possible. A simpler way of putting it is a captain is ultimately responsible for everything that happens on his ship on his watch.

While much of our base is willing to fight for our liberties with the ferocity of a lion, they are, unfortunately, lions led by lambs. And until that changes, absolutely nothing else will – regardless of how many elections we win or how principled the party platform reads.

Those in positions of headship within the party will simply nullify the principled actions and intentions of our base with their own fecklessness, gutlessness, and stupidity. Just as sadly many of the stories we publish each day here at Conservative Review chronicle in grisly detail.

The principles of headship and the consequences of ignoring them are universal.

Family: The natural law requires the father to be ultimately responsible for the home, which explains why children without fathers are far more likely to live in poverty, engage in premarital sexual activity, and be incarcerated at some point in their lives.

Business: Not everyone that worked at Enron was a crook. There were plenty of hard-working, decent people there. But the unscrupulous actions of those at the top brought the whole company down.

Church: How about Mars Hill Church in Seattle? For a decade it looked on the outside like one of the most successful Bible-teaching mega-churches in the country. Now it no longer exists after its head, Mark Driscoll, suffered a very public fall from grace.

State: Look at our own nation, with one Marxist CEO in the White House almost singlehandedly dismantling our rule of law. And the “opposition party” enabling this dismantling because they’re either unwilling or incapable of stopping it.

While our opponents detest the natural law, they ironically deploy the principle of headship more shrewdly than us. As a result, they own most of the key positions of influence within academia, pop culture, government, and now increasingly the corporate sector as well.

So despite the fact we greatly outnumber them, the enemy routinely out-flanks us.

The clock is ticking on American Exceptionalism, so this becomes a time for choosing. Either we can fight the long way (and who knows how much longer we’ll have the freedom to keep fighting that way at all), or we can choose the smart way. Learn from our history so that we aren’t doomed to repeat it. While there’s still time to preserve the last, best hope for mankind this side of heaven.

Our shining city on a hill is under siege. Do we have the generals in our movement and in our party capable of leading the battle to save her? Do they have the will to do what must be done, the courage to withstand the criticism for doing it, and the winsomeness to convince the hearts and minds of enough of our countrymen to join us?

For sure, finding just such a general should be the main goal of the 2016 GOP presidential primary, but that is just one step. Replacing House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will also be important, but as of now they would just be replaced with the next two whitewashed tombs to roll off the ruling class assembly line.

Our movement has neglected the need to truly challenge failed leadership while cultivating capable leaders of our own for far too long. That’s why I want to invite you to join me here at Conservative Review as we honestly assess how we got ourselves into this mess, and stay with us as we come up with a plan to get us out.

We’ll be talking to some of the top leaders in our movement, and even asking them critical questions at times. Some of their answers will be disappointing, but before we can win we must first learn why it is we lose.

There will only be one agenda here: to prevent us from being the generation that will have to tragically look at our children and tell them what it once was like when men were free. I hope you’ll join me.

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

Steve Deace
Steve Deace is one of the "Heavy Hundred" talk show hosts in America according Talkers Magazine. His influence in the first in the nation Iowa Caucuses has been profiled in much of the national media, and he's also a columnist for The Washington Times. His new book, out now and endorsed by a who's who of conservative leaders, is titled Rules for Patriots: How Conservatives Can Win Again.

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